Special Commission Meeting Called Over Chamber Flap
1:00 p.m. — Thursday, February 11, 2021
by Anne Mooney / February 9, 2021
After cancelling the February 10 regular Commission meeting, because there would not be a three-member quorum physically present, a Special Meeting of the Commission has been scheduled for Thursday, February 11 at 1:00 pm at the WP Community Center at 721 New England Avenue. Virtual meeting attendance is also available by clicking https://cityofwinterpark.org/government/live-broadcasts/
This will be a Special Commission meeting. Commissioners can vote to take action, and public comment will be taken.
The Commission will discuss events from the February 5 debate between mayoral candidates at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and whether to take action.
At issue is the final debate question posed to the candidates, in which Commissioners were accused of collusion:
“It was dismaying to see the members of the city commission blatantly colluding to spike the Henderson project, which was approved by P&Z [Planning & Zoning] and was supported by the residents of Winter Park three to one over those opposing the project. As mayor, how would you ensure the commission enacts the wishes of the majority of WP residents, not just the agenda of an entitled few?”
Mayoral candidate Mayor Phil Anderson expressed his own dismay at the content of the question and stated his objection to the decision to air the question to Chamber President Betsy Gardner Eckbert.
After a brief burst of social media activity, each with its own version of events, the Anderson campaign and the WP Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors issued the following joint statement.
Joint statement issued by WP Chamber and Anderson Campaign
“Following an unfortunate incident at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Candidate Forum this past Friday, The Chamber and Phil Anderson’s campaign have come to terms with the matter and look forward to placing it behind us in an effort to bring our community together. The Chamber thanks Mr. Anderson and Ms. Sprinkel, the two mayoral candidates, for participating in the Forum.”
After notify the Commission that he would not be attending any more meetings until he stops being afraid of COVID, Sullivan agreed to attend Thursday’s Special City Commission meeting.
Sullivan appeared via livestream today to show Commissioners how he will be attired for Thursday’s Special Meeting:
to “Sullivan To Attend Special Meeting”:
LMAO! I appreciate good humor, especially if it’s on me.
Chamber Leader Cries Wolf
I wish someone would do a cartoon depicting slender
Phil and little Betsy as she’s crying with a room of people “help me I’m afraid”…..
Just another day in the neighborhood. Wonder what Winter Park’s Mr. Rogers would say? “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you be my friend. “
The Commission should rule quickly on this and issue their verdict by the end of Thursday’s meeting.
Should the Commission choose to sentence Mr. Anderson and the Chamber for their misbehavior, perhaps the sentence could include that the candidates issue a joint statement with the Chamber announcing that the debate will be rescheduled so that the moderator can ask all the questions again, except for the controversial one, and so Mr. Anderson can say something to Miss Gardner Eckbert after the debate like “You just get better and better every day!” or “Thank you for those marvelous questions and a wonderful debate experience!” or “May I get you a soft drink or a pair of fuzzy dice for your rear view mirror?”
Commissioner Sprinkel would be allowed to lip sync her answers to a tape recording of herself from the prior debate, since she memorizes what she says in advance anyway so there would be no difference.
I’d suggest that Betsy Eckbert resign
Couldn’t one just as easily accuse the Leary-appointed P&Z members of “colluding” when they approved the project? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall a 1,000 + signature petition SUPPORTING the Henderson, as was presented in OPPOSITION to the project. So much for the Henderson being “supported by the residents of Winter Park three to one over those opposing the project. ” Sour grapes and defeated blowhards make for a nasty combination.
The Commission shouldn’t be dignifying this nonsense with discussion. It sets a bad precedent. Going forward, anyone can now make an unsubstantiated accusation and expect it to be treated with kid gloves and taken seriously. Scary.
On the evening of February 5th, hours after the now infamous Chamber of Commerce mayoral forum, THREE alert Winter Park residents holding only a flashlight searched through an open garbage can on the public right of way near the Chamber of Commerce offices, and found the original document that bears the text of the now famous question asked by the debate moderator.
While social media continues to be flooded with rumors surrounding the question, this new evidence, which is now under 24 hour guard at an undisclosed location, sheds light on its origin and the cover-up that ensued following the debate.
This new evidence confirms that the question was not presented in handwriting by an audience member as the Chamber alleges, nor was it type written as social media is claiming today.
The document the inquisitive Winter Park residents found on Friday evening, was apparently written in a code that was finally broken early this morning by individuals familiar with such ciphers.
For the first time, residents can see a photograph of the actual document on the material it was inscribed upon and its super secret coded message, the translation of which is:
“Collusion. Collusion. Collusion. Whatever you do, be sure to use the word ‘Collusion’ in your question.”
This snafu could have easily been avoided.
So easily avoided in fact, that to venture into these darker waters would have required a willing blindfold and a ship’s plank.
Organizations have standards and protocols for a reason.
The WP Chamber of Commerce (with its Leadership WP component no less) is the (was the) gold standard for business ethics and civil community-based behavior.
It could have easily vetted the question in question, sent it back to the submitter for rewrite, or edited out the questionable and unverified slice of propaganda. Or better yet, parked the question as inappropriate. Instead, it was asked as the first question from the audience.
It chose to ignore the inference.
This is not lost on those of us paying attention.
If no standards apply, where are the lessons learned from Leadership WP? Walk the walk? Or walk the plank?